Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heath Ledger (1979-2008)


I have to admit, I am a fan of Heath Ledger… was a fan. This phrase presents a problem, tense wise. If I am/was a fan of an actor who is now dead but who’s work lives on, do I use the present tense or the past?

I remember first seeing him in A Knight’s Tale, probably the strangest sports film ever made. (Am I wrong about it being a sports film? Plot wise, does it vary from The Mighty Ducks or The Bad News Bears in any real way? The answer to that is a big fat no. But it was good!) I loved it and thought that Ledger did a fantastic job. After that I started seeing him everywhere. The Patriot, 10 Things I Hate About You, Brokeback Mountain, and the up coming Dark Knight, just to name a few.
He was everywhere and he was famous. But from what I understand, he was always uncomfortable and stressed out because of his fame, which made him turn to better living through pharmaceuticals just to sleep. Legal prescriptions… but still... probably lead to his death.
Which made me think. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, why do it at all? If being a big “A-List” movie actor makes you all stressed out and miserable… why keep doing it? Quit and find something else you would like to do. The thing that we all know about Hollywood is that there are hundreds of people waiting in the wings to take your place, and once your place is taken, they, most certainly, will forget about you. If you take off, fire your agent, and stay away for a year, it'll be like:

“Hey, do you remember that Knight movie?”
“The one with Alan Tudyk?”
“Ya... do you remember that guy?”
“Which guy?”
“The one who played William.”
"Ulrich?"
"Whatever... that guy... with the hair."
"Hair? I heard he didn't have a comb on set."
"Comb? Whatever... Who was that guy?"
"What guy?"
"The knight! You know, the kid, the armor, the girl, the... knight!"
“Oh ya that guy."
"Ya... who was he?"
"I hear he’s directing Community Theater in Sydney.”
“Oh, That’s too bad…"
"Uh hu... to bad."
"Do you think Tom Cruise is available?”

There are guys that love what they do, guys like Adam Baldwyn and Kevin Bacon. Those two are, fracking, everywhere. They love to act and it seems that they’ll take any role thrown their way. You never hear about how tortured they are by their fame, or that their family life is hell, or that they're on their 19th marriage. When was the last time you saw one of them on a tabloid? They, it would seem, are like the rest of us slobs, just plugging away, doing the best they can, making movies. And then there are the Heath Ledgers of the world, wanting to be movie actors, but not wanting the fame that comes with it.
I’m not passing judgment… I’m really not. I’m just saying… If you don’t like where you’re at, or what you’re doing… stop, take a step back, reevaluate, and find what makes you happy.
I don’t think that Heath Ledger was happy… and now he’s dead. Life lesson?

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